4th Apr 2005, 17:48

I have to ask the question - which parts specifically are designed to fail at 20K to 40K miles? The transmission (which seems to receive the bulk of the negative comments)? Seems if you make a comparison to whatever Chevy is equivalent (Malibu?), the owners have *way* less problems than with the Contour. And there is no way any of the Japanese equivalents (with the exception of the Mazda (s) that use the same tranny) have the same sort of negative reaction. Maybe it's only Ford parts that are designed to last just 30K miles?

25th May 2005, 23:18

I considered buying an SVT when they were new, but ended up deciding against it. I did buy a 1997 Sport with 58,000 miles on it with the V6 and 5-speed combination. It was fairly fun to drive When I sold the car 18 months later (in 2000), it had 83,000 miles on it, it was on it's 3rd water pump, the rear main engine seal had been replaced, the fuel pump had been replaced, 4 sensors were replaced, and numerous other repairs were performed. I had this thing towed at least 6 times, and spent over $5000 on repairs and maintenance. When I sold it the "check engine" light was coming on intermittently. The Ford dealer told me that it would cost $1800 to fix, but would do nothing to affect the performance of the car (except pass the emissions test - the light being on is an automatic failure). When I tried to trade the car in, the first dealer I went to offered me $1500 for the car. When a dealer offers you $1500 for a 4 year old car, that's just sad - and it speaks volumes about the car and how it is viewed. The 2.5L V6 is very unreliable and poorly engineered. I laughed when I heard that they stuck a version of this in the X-type Jaguar. 0-60 in close to 10 seconds with the automatic. Not impressive.

8th Jun 2005, 02:31

I never ever had any problems with my Contour. It's been maintained and never broke down. The transmission works fine, it works like the day I bought it. I seriously think these problems are because people don't know how to take care of a car. And you've got to remember, did the previous owner beat it to hell?

2nd Feb 2006, 23:49

I would have to say that if you want a work truck, buy American, if you want a reliable car, buy Japanese/German. Being a previous Contour owner I have to agree with the problems this poster experienced. You can't blame a car owner for the fact that a plastic impeller in a water pump breaks (and that it costs ~400 to replace). That the multi-stage catalytic dies because (and I found this out later) they get too hot. Or that the Transmission dies, even under regular maintenance. I agree that tranny's do go, but replacement at ~3000 is a little surprising. Especially for a vehicle less than 20,000. I did get 200,000 out of the car though, and it was fun to drive!

2nd Oct 2006, 13:46

My 97 Escort has 125k miles on it and has never required one sensor or thermostat to be changed. The only time I replaced the thermostat was when I was doing a coolant change, and I thought I may as well do it while I was in there. The PO also replaced the O2 sensors before I bought it (general maintenance).

Aside from that, this car has never needed ANY electrical parts to be replaced, and is FULLY loaded with all the bells and whistles, incl keyless, power windows etc.

Hope you can make a hard fist! ;)

2nd Oct 2006, 14:10

I'm not sure WHY the SVT Contour is even being mentioned in the same sentence as the 3-series.

3rd Oct 2006, 09:22

I used to own a 1995 Contour and a 2000 BMW 3 series and there is no way in hell that the Contour can match the handling of the 3 series.

Plus the contour is the worst vehicle I have ever owned with 18 recalls. Ford sucks and they are the reason that I refuse to buy American cars.

23rd Nov 2006, 17:10

Regarding Contour, I've put over 300,000 on three Audi's, 200,000 on a couple BMW's and am quite surprised how much I like driving this '96 V6 / 5-Speed Contour. With 200,000 miles, it has very little wrong, burns no oil and the traction control works great.

8th Dec 2006, 00:05

My 1998 ford contour has 157,000 miles and it runs perfect. The only thing I need to replace is the windshield because a rock hit on the freeway. Good gas, synthetic oil, with regular preventive maintenance will keep your car running for a long time.

9th Dec 2006, 11:36

This forum is no help to anyone. People compare fords to BMW and to Honda's and other cars. the fact is I have had two svt contours and this one has a wire harness and ECM problem. But the fact of the matter is ford discontinued this car for a reason not cause the car was perfect, but cause they had a better car with less problems to replace it. The fact is you cannot go and buy any limited high performance car and run it hard with out fixing it. I have friends with STI and EVO and when they run them hard they have to fix them too. fact of the matter if you can't deal with fixing a car then buy a bicycle cause no matter what you will always have to fix a car. regardless of a wearable part or not.

23rd Dec 2006, 17:21

Someone please tell me why you have to go compare BMW to Ford. There is no contest on which is the best except for the price you are going to pay. All cars have problems, no matter if you are for or against American cars. Let it rest. Every brand of car is going to have a lemon amongst them. My cousin bought a 2006 Suzuki car and it broke down 2 hours later after leaving the lot. Taking care of a car has a lot to do with when you purchase a new or used car. That goes for Chevy, Ford and BMW etc.

26th Dec 2006, 17:48

I also own a 1998 Ford SVT Contour and a 1999 BMW M Roadster. The SVT is fun to drive, mine has 130,000+ miles on it and runs great. I call it my undercover car since it turns no heads with its styling. It tops out at over 140 mph and is still fun to drive. My husband still loves the SVT, and actually prefers it to my M.

12th May 2007, 11:45

My family has owned five Fords; two Mustangs, two Contours and a Taurus. I'm the one has driven the Contours.

I owned a 1995 Ford Contour SE and at 110K, the cheap water pump broke and I was left stranded with an overheated engine. It was fixed and for the most part remained problem-free, other than a small ground effect piece falling off somewhere. I traded it in for the same color 1998 Contour SVT a few years later.

At 108K miles (I should have been expecting this), the cheap plastic water pump busted and I was left with a badly damaged engine out in the middle of nowhere. The engine was replaced, along with the clutch kit. Total cost so far is $6K on a car worth about $3500.

I ordered the engine from a different state and hired a different outfit to do the work since a dealership quoted me $9K. Now, the wiring harness has come to surface since two weeks later, the car is undrivable again. Of course, I wasn't aware of the recall and am now past the recall time limit. Quoted at $2K, I'm really starting to lose patience. The SVT is on it's third alternator.

I'll admit that I'm no lightfoot, but I'm a very experienced driver (I don't grind gears or peal out). Plus, I use nothing but premium gas, synthetic oil and high-performance filters.

Whoever assumes that people don't take care of their car, unless the driver is a novice, is ignorant. It takes one bad experience for someone to realize how important maintenance is. To suggest they blindly go through life ignoring the same problem over and over again is preposterous.

Perhaps, the manufacturers get on these web-sites and do their responsibility of blaming the consumer for bad performance. It certainly wasn't us who were responsible for 18 recalls. I agree with one of the other comments, there shouldn't be a recall limit. If a car was not made properly in the first place, it is the makers responsibility to rectify the problem. Some people move and aren't aware of certain recalls. I don't believe it's anyones responsiblity to pay for a car or any of its parts TWICE, including labor. Perhaps us consumers should issue a recall on OUR MONEY, even though it was never defective.

Seriously, there are responsibilities of the consumer concerning the maintenance and operation of the vehicle, but there are also responsibilities of the manufacturer concerning the safety and performance of the vehicle. This shouldn't be a one-sided relationship.

I will no longer buy domestic, as I'm starting to believe they all suck. After all, they are the ones who began "planned obsolescence" in the first place. For those of you who don't know, before the foreign car makers came into the country, the Big Three (Bad Three?) purposely made parts of a car to fail after time so you'd either spend money on having it fixed or buying a new car. Then the foreigners, who do business with integrity, came in and started kicking their backside. I doubt they'll ever recover.

My suggestion is they should have saved all the money they made deceiving the consumer for the hard times once the American consumer smartened up.

These days, they'll sell you something you don't need. Take the water pump, for instance. You don't actually need the whole pump; just the guts of it to get your car back on the road. They will try to sell you the whole thing. I had to pay Ford $125.00 just to look at my car (and let's not forget the inevitable cost of a tow since the car is undrivable) and since I was stranded at the dealership, paid $1.25 for a coke. I'm sure they could have swallowed the cost of a drink that roughly costs 15 cents to make in that $125 somewhere. I'm just fed up with domestic in general. NO MORE MONEY PITS!!!